Amazon Fresh store under construction in Braintree Shopping Center

BRAINTREE – Construction of an Amazon Fresh grocery store on Route 3 is underway.

The Braintree Planning Board has approved the retail giant’s plan to transform the former Saks Off 5th and 5.11 Tactical space into a 37,500 square foot Amazon Fresh store on the Grossman Drive Mall.

Construction includes modifications to the storefront, entrance and walkway, as well as the installation of corals for caddies.

According to the Amazon website, there are no Fresh stores in Massachusetts.

Amazon’s first Fresh store, a 35,000 square foot traditional supermarket, opened last year in a mall in Woodland Hills, California.

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Fresh stores include a cart that counts items as they enter the cart and allows for instant checkout, and store-wide Alexa stations that can be asked.

Customers can enter the store in the traditional way, but if they want to use the cart, they have to open their Amazon app and swipe it. Amazon says the cart will make “a grocery trip even faster by allowing (shoppers) to skip the checkout line.”

Amazon's Dash cart allows customers at its new Fresh supermarket to pay directly from the cart.

Amazon made a big splash in the food business in 2017 by purchasing Whole Foods and has grown with online stores Fresh, which offer food deliveries, and Go stores, which offer cashier-less shopping at a store that monitors purchases with aerial cameras.

Fresh is different from Whole Foods, said Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon’s Fresh stores. Organic products are featured at Whole Foods, while Fresh has a wider variety of foods, he said.

“It meets a different consumer need,” he said.

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The stores also serve as a pickup and drop-off location for other Amazon orders.

Fresh produce stores can be found in California, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State, and Washington, DC

An Amazon dashboard cart.

Amazon filed a claim with Braintree’s planning department under the name “Seritage KMT Finance LLC” and said in a letter to the city that the rendering “includes a fictitious name for privacy purposes.”

When contacted by email and asked if an Amazon Fresh is coming to Braintree, a company representative said, “Amazon does not comment on rumors or speculation.”

The former Saks Off 5th and 5.11 Tactical spaces at Braintree are slated to become a 37,500 square foot Amazon Fresh store.

McMahon Associates, a traffic planning and engineering firm, said the new Braintree store will result in about 44 new vehicle trips during weekday afternoon rush hour and about 45 additional trips during the Saturday noon rush hour.

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Jefferson Grahm of USA Today contributed to this report. Contact Mary Whitfill at [email protected]

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